Daisy Irani and the Dark Reality of Children in Showbiz


Daisy Irani and the Dark Reality of Children in Showbiz

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

hether or not Bollywood has its #MeToo moment, the story of Daisy Irani, one of India’s most popular child actors, has sounded the alarm over the safety of the only group in the entertainment industry more vulnerable to abuse than women – children. Irani, who has been a Bollywood mainstay since she debuted as a child artist in the ’50s, was raped when she was six years old while on a film shoot, reports the Mumbai Mirror. The perpetrator of this heinous act was her guardian, the man her parents handed her over to, entrusted with the responsibility of making her a star. Irani said the motive for sharing her story, sixty years on, was to make parents of children entering the entertainment industry aware of the dangers that lurk here.

Much like #MeToo pulled back the curtain and revealed that the scale of abuse suffered by women was much greater than anyone had previously imagined, Irani’s exposé hints at the sordid reality of showbiz. An increasing number of children’s reality shows on television means more kids are entering the entertainment industry than ever before. Navigating this distinctly adult sphere can be harrowing for children, as the recent incident involving Assamese singer Papon proved.

There is good touch, there is bad touch, and then there is Papon. The playback star crossed the limits of “bura na mano, Holi hai” last month when he posted a Facebook Live video with contestants of The Voice India Kids, a show on which he is a judge.